Insurers vow not to use leaked HIV information

The names and contact details of 14,200 people, both locals and foreigners, on the HIV Registry were stolen from the Ministry of Health between March 2012 and May 2016.
The names and contact details of 14,200 people, both locals and foreigners, on the HIV Registry were stolen from the Ministry of Health between March 2012 and May 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Insurance companies in Singapore have promised not to use any of the leaked HIV information "for any purpose whatsoever".

The Life Insurance Association (LIA) issued a statement on Friday (Feb 1) assuring policyholders that insurers will not seek any of the leaked data, meaning that people on the HIV Registry need not fear that their life or health insurance coverage will be compromised in any way.

It added: "Should the information related to this incident be intentionally sent to life insurers, life insurers will not use the data and will inform the relevant authorities immediately."

The names and contact details of 14,200 people, both locals and foreigners, on the HIV Registry were stolen from the Ministry of Health (MOH) between March 2012 and May 2016.

The information was made public last month and later blocked. However, the details are still at large.

About 3,500 Singaporeans and permanent residents who were on the register up to 2013 are still alive.

The Singaporean doctor who took the information from the ministry, Ler Teck Siang, has been charged under the Official Secrets Act. He also faces penal charges for falsifying his lover's blood test, as well as for drug trafficking.

 
 
 

The confidential information was released on the Internet by his lover, American Mikhy Farrera Brochez, who was deported from Singapore last year after serving more than two years in jail for falsifying his blood test.

Brochez had HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) but, in order to get an employment pass, needed a clean record. Ler used his blood for Brochez's test.

The LIA reiterated that no one will be discriminated against as a result of the leak.

It said: "It is our goal to ensure that all our policyholders are treated fairly. Policyholders should be assured that life insurers will not unreasonably reject a claim or void a policy."